In the north of Scotland, in the Highlands, on the shores of Loch Assynt, lie the ruins of Ardvreck Castle. Dating back to the 16th century, it was built by the Clan MacLeod who owned the surrounding land. In 1672, change of ownership, the MacKenzie clan attacked and took the castle. They built the Calda house in 1726, a more modern dwelling, reusing stones from the castle. Calda is the name of the stream that runs right next to it. The house burned down in 1737, the lands of the Clan MacKenzie were subsequently seized by the Crown because of their support for the rebellion of 1745.
The castle and the house are now in ruins, all that remains of the castle is the tower and part of the defensive wall, as well as some foundations.
The Scottish Highlands are known for their ghosts and legends. Ardvreck Castle and Calda House are no exception to the rule, several ghosts have been seen around the loch. The castle is said to be haunted by the ghost of a little girl crying. She is the daughter of the MacLeods themselves, they would have asked the devil for help to build the castle, in exchange for their little girl. She threw herself from the tower in despair.
Another ghost is a tall man dressed in gray. It would be linked to an inglorious historical event that happened in the castle. In 1650, the Marquis of Montrose, a royalist, came to seek refuge at the castle after losing a battle against the Covenanters. He would have been betrayed, imprisoned and handed over to his adversaries who then executed him. It’s a notorious betrayal of Highland hospitality.
Another legend concerns the MacKenzies and the Calda house. They would have had a big family celebration on a Saturday and continued the celebration after midnight on the Lord’s Day. It is said that as punishment, a fire has started in the house and killed all the occupants.
Lights would also have been seen, like car headlights, but with no engine noise and no car on the road.
The place is conducive to Scottish legends with its typical Highland landscape: the ruins, the loch and Ben More Assynt in the distance.